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Posted: September 23, 2018

Kootenay Game Changers honoured

The third annual Kootenay Game Changers awards ceremony Sept. 22 was the same as the first two.

Aside from being held at St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino’s Pavilion, the awards ceremony again shone a deep light of appreciation on a group of East Kootenay volunteers and community support game changers, most going about their business behind the scenes and without fanfare, some for many decades.

It was also once again a deeply inspirational, motivational and moving evening.

The brainchild of Danielle Eaton of Brook Public Relations, Kootenay Game Changers is a regional multi-media effort with e-KNOW, Black Press and B-104 and 102.9/The Drive, along with The Fernie Fix and Go Cranbrook/Go Kimberley.

Gipman Kitchens & Cabinetry once again covered the cost of the evening’s 54 nominees’ meals at the awards ceremony.

Local musician Darin Welch (pictured right) performed before and during the award’s dinner and ceremony.

Here are the 2018 Kootenay Game Changer Award winners…

Youth (sponsored by Sandor Rental Equipment)

Ben Fraser

As Area Director for Young Life in the Kootenays, Ben Fraser and his team provide a safe space for youth to gather, have fun, develop meaningful relationships, and explore their faith through the opportunity to attend summer camp. Working with teens is not easy, but Ben makes it look easy.

Pictured with Ben is Mark Salvador/ Sandor Rental Equipment, left.


Family (sponsored by New Dawn Restoration & New Dawn Developments)

Aileen Wilson

Aileen Wilson started Paying it Forward – Kindness in the Kootenays in Cranbrook that has blossomed into a huge group that reaches families all over the Kootenays. She is disabled, yet still manages to help those in need, working tirelessly and fundraising to ensure that children, adults, seniors and pets are taken care of. She works to make our community a better place, and has spread a lot of kindness over the years.

Pictured with Aileen is Leanne Jensen of New Dawn Restoration, left.


Seniors (sponsored by OK Tire)

Laurie Harris

Laurie Harris’s tireless efforts with Cranbrook Better At Home, helps seniors who need a helping hand to remain independent at home and stay connected to their community. She always makes herself available to people whatever their need may be, and her kind words and empathy have helped comfort many people in their time of need.

Pictured with Laurie is City of Cranbrook Coun. Ron Popoff, left, on behalf of OK Tire.


Health and Wellness (sponsored by Peak Family Dental Centre)

Shenoa Runge

Shenoa Runge has a passion for promoting health and wellness in the East Kootenay. At Creekside Physiotherapy Clinic she puts that passion and dedication into helping every one of her clients. She is a kinesiologist, but also has training in cardiovascular health, advanced functional movement screening and health and fitness certification and promotion. She exemplifies her passion for wellness by maintaining a healthy lifestyle herself.

Pictured with Shenoa is John Nesbitt of Peak Family Dental Centre, right.


Education (sponsored by Leanne M Goddard Chartered Professional Accountant)

Frank Lento

Following a long, successful teaching career, Frank Lento serves as advocate for education in the region, as Chair of the School District No. 5 School Board of Trustees. Among his many community initiatives, Frank has championed the building of the new high school in Fernie, is the driving force behind getting a new elementary school in Fernie, and is responsible for the funding of and construction of playgrounds at a number of Elk Valley schools.

Pictured with Frank is Leanne M. Goddard, right.


Protective Services (sponsored by Pacific Coastal Airlines)

Tammy Pocha

Tammy Pocha is dedicated to helping the most vulnerable adult population in Cranbrook. Through her work with Street Angel, she provides safe, supported and non-judgmental services to anyone who walks through the door. She works to ensure everyone gets support, and advocates for their well-being, volunteering countless hours to overcome barriers, challenges or delays.

Pictured with Tammy is Jenelle Hynes of Pacific Coastal Airlines, right.


Food and Agriculture (sponsored by Cranbrook Flooring)

Nicole Knauf/Fernie Fresh Food Share

Nicole Knauf grew up learning to waste as little as possible, but working in restaurants, she saw a lot of good food thrown out and headed for the landfill. She was inspired to start Fernie Fresh Food Share, and local restaurateurs see what an incredible amount of work it is and what a great program it is for the community.

Pictured with Nicole is Clint Eaton of Cranbrook Flooring, left.


Arts and Culture (sponsored by ?aq’am First Nation)

James Neve 

As President of the Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society, James Neve has led a team of directors to bring the performing arts in Cranbrook and area to a new level. Under his leadership, FPPAS has developed the Summer Sounds concert series, helping local performers of all ages and persuasions showcase and develop their talents, enriching community culture and tourism potential.

Pictured with James is ?aq’am Chief Joe Pierre Jr., right.


First Nations (sponsored by Teck Coal Ltd.)

Bonnie Harvey

Bonnie Harvey has for years shared Ktunaxa culture through her story-telling, her cooking, and by always helping people from all walks of life to celebrate and laugh. Her unique delivery removes that wall of uncertainty so everyone feels welcome, and excited to try their first Ktunaxa word, listen to legends, or eat her famous fried bread.

Pictured with Bonnie is Norm Fraser of Teck Coal Ltd.


Outdoors and Environment (sponsored by Tipi Mountain Eco-Cultural Services)

Todd Hebert

As an outdoor educator for Blue Lake Camp, Wild BC, and Columbia Outdoor School, Todd Hebert has developed programming on water, soil, wildlife, snow, outdoor recreation and much more. His years of service have provided so much value to the outdoor education community, and the thousands of children who have been in his education programs.

Pictured with Todd is Lindsey Neill of Tipi Mountain Eco-Cultural Services, left.


Sports and Recreation (sponsored by Isaac Hockley Real Estate)

Melanie and Rick McFarlane

Melanie and Rick developed and have dedicated their time to the We Bike Cycling Program. The program would not be able to educate Grade 4 students in learning how to cycle without the entire We Bike team, but in particular Melanie and Rick. These two have dedicated their time to this program that builds skills in a fun and safe learning environment.

Pictured with Melanie and Rick is Gabrielle and Isaac Hockley, far left and far right.


Tourism (sponsored by The Heid-Out Restaurant & Brewhouse)

Mike McPhee

Mike McPhee has always been a great advocate of the Fernie lifestyle. He has taken Island Lake Lodge to new heights, creating positive moral for his staff, and has won multiple marketing and community tourism awards along the way. He sits on several marketing committees and boards, including Destination BC.

Pictured with Mike is Heidi Romich of The Heid-Out Restaurant & Brewhouse.


Unsung Hero (sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust)

Cindy Postnikoff

Cindy Postnikoff has brought awareness of the valour of our veterans to the forefront, and helped to honor and improve their lives through the development of the Military Ames program, the Quilts of Honour program and the new Veterans Park in Kimberley. She also coordinates a program for veterans suffering from PTSD and other issues.

Pictured with Cindy is Kaylyn Gervais of Columbia Basin Trust, left.

Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Rachelle Langlois-Sin Life Financial Advisor)

Al Miller

Since moving to Invermere in 1989 to start working at Invermere Home Hardware (and purchasing it in 1993), community involvement and Al Miller have become synonymous in the Columbia Valley. He volunteers in some way at almost every event between Canal Flats and Golden, sitting on various boards in the area, as well as Invermere Council.

Pictured with Al is Rachelle Langlois.

Words: Barry Coulter, Editor, Cranbrook Townsman/Ian Cobb, e-KNOW

Images: Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW

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